There is so much to do, see and explore in the affordable “down-valley” towns of Carbondale and Glenwood Springs that visitors might not ever get to “up-valley” Aspen! The Roaring Fork Valley, once known as just the outskirts of Aspen, is an exciting and ever-evolving destination. Tourists and locals flock year-round to Glenwood Springs for the world’s largest outdoor Hot Springs Pool. The Sopris Splash Zone consists of Shoshone Chutes, a fast-moving adventure river ride for older kids and adults. For younger children, Hanging Lake is a wade-in, waterfall-fed pool along with the Grand Fountain, a splash pad by day with a seven-foot water spray and an illuminated show fountain by night, reaching 17 feet high with a spectacular colored light display.
Just less than four hours from Fort Collins, 45 minutes from Vail and an hour from Aspen, it’s close to half a dozen ski resorts, a wide variety of hotels, inns and restaurants, and a myriad of attractions.
Visit the Glenwood Caverns just ten minutes from town, where you’ll see fantastic stalactites and stalagmites and hear a marvelous narrative of the caverns’ past. Adventure Park boasts the country’s first alpine coaster, the Canyon Flyer. There’s also an awe-inspiring bungee jump and various adventures all reachable by gondola. Cyclists will be delighted to take in the 16.2-mile Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path along the rushing Colorado River, dotted with thrill-seeking rafters and kayakers and surrounded by magnificent, towering canyon walls.
Carbondale sits on the confluence of the Crystal and Roaring Fork Rivers, at the foot of the mighty monolith, Mt. Sopris (12,953). Both the Roaring Fork and Crystal Rivers flow adjacent to downtown Carbondale and offer Gold Medal Water for fly fishing as well as kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding. Staying at Dandelion Inn, a cozy but sumptuous bed and breakfast, we had complimentary bicycles to use on the Rio Grande Trail and visited the pleasant Wednesday Farmers Market, held until Oct. 25.
After your Roaring Fork Valley vacation, if you still have more time to explore, head on up to Snowmass and Aspen, or take in a hike to Maroon Bells, one of Colorado’s most beloved and renowned poster-friendly spots.
Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge | HotSpringsLodge.com | 970.945.6571
Dandelion Inn | DandelionInnCo.com | 970.963.3597
Canyon Bikes | CanyonBikes.com | 800.439.3043
Royal Fork Transit Authority | RFTA.com | 970.384.4975
Glenwood Springs | GlenwoodChamber.com | 970.945.6587